Thanks to the generous sponsorship of #Chick-fil-a, #Delta, and #Coca-Cola (all Atlanta-based companies) my daughter got to learn to fly a plane practically for free! The Organization of Black Airline Pilots (OBAP) program was created to give minority kids an introduction to the aviation industry and a chance to learn how to fly planes.

How it All Began

Last year she went to OBAP Aviation Career Experience (ACE) academy to learn about aviation careers and did quite well. This summer I encouraged my daughter to apply for the OBAP Solo Flight Academy where she could learn how to fly a plane.

She went through the application and interview process and was chosen as an alternate. Because someone couldn’t make it she was able to take the spot. It was meant to be. We got the paperwork in including a medical exam because she’d have to be fit to fly.

A Little Sacrifice for a lot of Reward

Now the sacrifice would come because it is a two week camp, it’s an hour away, and I had to pay $150. But the sacrifice was worth it to me because she’s my child.
We made arrangements for her to stay with my sister who lived closer to the academy. She would have to drive everyday to classes and I’d have to cough up the money. But she’s worth every penny and that money was a drop in the bucket compared to what it could have cost.

A Unicorn in the Making

Now that the course is complete she is among the rare league of African-American women who know how to fly a plane. She may become a pilot someday and get the Unicorn designation. Why unicorn? Because like the mythical creature, very few people have ever seen an African-American pilot.



The Next Steps

If my daughter decides to become a pilot she will have to go through a series of steps. The first goal is to get her private pilot’s license. Next is to either attend a flight school and get more flying time or go to university and get a degree, then join a flight training program. Finally, she will apply to become a pilot for any number of companies that need pilots. It may be a private or commercial company.

She loves flying so I’m going to help her in anyway I can make that dream come true. There are many people in our circle who is connected to the airline industry that will help her as well. She’s made even more connections recently after attending the annual OBAP conference. She met pilots from Delta, Fedex, Chick-fil-a, UPS, ExpressJet, and a few others.

A Future So Bright She’ll Have to Wear (Aviator) Shades

To have a bright future she has to prepare and do the work. She’s already begun the journey so she’s off to a good start, but she has to keep moving forward no matter what.

As with all careers it’s important to connect with people who are in the position she wants to be in. There are membership organizations she can join including women aviator associations, minority aviation associations, and private pilot organizations. Each offers something different but all offers support, scholarships, and a sense of community.

She plans to go on to college to get a degree then go on to be a commercial pilot. I know that whatever she decides to do will be a success. This kid is simply too amazing for words.

Thanks for letting me share with you and brag about my daughter. 🙂